WOOT! 1.8 MILLION Verdict in Online Diet Scam!! Yipeeee!

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Well, I just wanted to share some wonderful news.

I have been involved in a class action suit for the last 3 years against a diet membership site, and we just got the verdict:

We Won!!!

The case was about how the owner used pictures taken from other sites on the web (no permission to do so) and used them as before/after shots for her own diet.

Don't steal pictures people! They can be tracked by the right people!

The site was promoted in Womans World Magazine back in 2007, and in that month the site made around a million dollars that month alone.

I was a member of this "pay once for a lifetime membership" site, but was banned soon after the opposing team was able to link me as one of the undercover people working to spread the word about the scam we had uncovered.

It has never been about the money - as I would get back a whopping 40 bucks I think? lol

It has been a long journey, but well worth this final verdict.

I was an affiliate for the product initially before I realized the issues. I became lost when my "winning" source of money was suddenly gone. It was just a few months after that when I found this great forum, and a new hope to get things right.

Thanks to all of you here who have known about my side project and have been supportive.

I'm still getting the news about everything the verdict covers - but will share as soon as I can!

Woohooo!
#diet #million #online #scam #verdict #woot #yipeeee
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Barboza
    Well, if fake pictures is the reason for sueing then you should sue most of internet marketers. Who is taking home that 1.8 million prize?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by AlexBarboza View Post

      Well, if fake pictures is the reason for sueing then you should sue most of internet marketers. Who is taking home that 1.8 million prize?
      There is a bit more to the fraud case, but those pics were a big part of it.

      Our lawyer will be getting a healthy chunk. And I'm guessing everyone who joined the site during that time frame of the fake pics will be offered a check of some amount.

      Honestly, our lawyer worked for ZERO money up front from us, and the man deserves as much of it as he likes.
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      "May I have ten thousand marbles, please?"

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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Barboza
        O.K. Got it now! Congrats to you! But seriously, many internet marketers could be easily sued for similar stuff. Like "Make thousands on Autopilot and for free" and when you see the product they tell you "This is not easy. It takes time and hard work. You have to invest in things like domain, hosting and autoresponders..."

        We know that this is necessary to make money online but a person who is not really aware of the existence of internet marketing can be easily scamed by these claims.


        Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

        There is a bit more to the fraud case, but those pics were a big part of it.

        Our lawyer will be getting a healthy chunk. And I'm guessing everyone who joined the site during that time frame of the fake pics will be offered a check of some amount.

        Honestly, our lawyer worked for ZERO money up front from us, and the man deserves as much of it as he likes.
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      • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
        Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

        Honestly, our lawyer worked for ZERO money up front from us, and the man deserves as much of it as he likes.
        Most do. It's called contingency.

        They love class action. 40% of 1.8million plus expenses...
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  • Profile picture of the author bitriot
    I never really sweated this site cause the membership fee wasn't very much and I figured out how to lose weight on my own (lift weights, eat 1 gram protein per lb of lean body mass, thats it), but seeing as it is a class action, is there still time to apply for renumeration? Kimmers sucks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

    The case was about how the owner used pictures taken from other sites on the web (no permission to do so) and used them as before/after shots for her own diet.
    I know there's always a lot more to these stories than meets the eye, but when you put it like that, one's kind of left wondering how on earth a civil suit on that basis actually came to court rather than being settled out of court - it sounds so black and white, doesn't it? (Even if they were color pics).

    I suppose they were disputing the quantum of damages, or denying that they'd done it at all, or something?

    Anyway, very well done on a favourable and correct resolution, and thanks for posting it, Jill.

    The more of these cases the better, in my opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
      Jill,

      You and I joined this forum around the same time and I remember the posts you've made about this. Congrats on seeing a successful outcome. I know most people here won't know what a PITA this has been for you, and may not appreciate what this means to you.

      Question...now that you guys have won the law suit where can I retro-actively join that site?

      ~Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author Bazbo
    This kind of thing is rampant in IM. One of these days the FTC is going to crack down really, really hard. Last year's FTC ruling was only the beginning.

    And frankly, I hope they do.

    I get sick of seeing an ad on my home computer that says "Fayetteville Mom Loses 20 Lbs In One Month" and then heading for the library to work with my laptop and seeing "Huntsville Mom Loses 20 Lbs In One Month", and it's the exact same picture.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    Originally Posted by precious007 View Post


    I hope we're not talking about 4idiots.
    No.

    There were a lot of marketing lessons learned from this experience overall.

    While a lot of the practices of the offending site were uncovered as very shady, there were things that were being done very right. It took a bit of brain toggling to be able to separate myself from what had been done to me and give an objective perspective to find those things that were working and would be good for a business to do.

    It just feels good now to find a resolution.
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  • Profile picture of the author jointaldc
    whoa, 1.8 mil for fake pictures? I guess it all depended on how much they profitted from the fraud
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Ok, just borrowed this from a good friend who posted elsewhere (she won't mind )

      We have a judgement based on fraud for $1.8 Million.

      We have punitive damages for $500,000

      We have injunctive relief, which includes she can not further lie to promote her diet. She can not use fake photos, success stories or testimonials to promote her diet.

      While we won't see a court ordered 404 message we got something even better.

      Heidi must put a notice on ANY website she starts for any purpose, diet or otherwise, that explains that she lied, used fake success stories and testimonials, that she mislead, that she used deceptive practices. She is going to have to post a notice that explains that low calorie diets can be dangerous, with a list of possible adverse side effects (the wording of the notice is to be worked out between the lawyers and the judge). There is NO expiration of these notices.

      The Judge included a PERMANENT restraining order wherein Heidi (or any of her socks) are prohibited against contacting in ANY form with any/all class members, class plaintiffs, lawyers, their families, their staffs (which includes name removed,name removed) for the rest of our lives.

      Oh, all of her assets have been frozen until the judgement is entered and served.

      This may be appealed, of course, but today, WE WON!!!!!
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      "May I have ten thousand marbles, please?"

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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Congrats ... sounds like a long, hard battle, but it was won.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nonny
    Wow, awesome! The requirement for a disclaimer on all future sites is especially nice.

    Assuming I'm remembering the correct site, it wasn't just that they were using blatantly false before-and-after pix, but that when people following the site's advice started showing signs of severe malnutrition (like their hair falling out), the owner told them that was a good thing and they should continue on the diet. Appalling.
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    ~ Peggy

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  • Profile picture of the author Sonomacats
    I've worked for class action attorneys (I worked on the California Wal-Mart trial, among others), so I know how much work is involved in fighting a class action lawsuit. It's really not about the money so much as it is about making things fair and setting things right. It also sets an example for others doing similar shady things.

    Congratulations. The decision is awesome! What a great victory.
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    Writing as Kieran McKendrick
    You can find the first prequel to my Purgatory series (How Blended are Dust and Fire) on Amazon and Smashwords.

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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Wow, congrats Jill! I remember all the controversy when you first posted about it. Fantastic news :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
    Well done Jill

    I can also remember when you first joined up and mentioned you were involved with this

    Nice to see a decent resolution

    Kim
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